Kevin VanDam Leads Day One of 2017 Elite Series Dardanelle

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Bassmaster Elite Series 2017 Lake Dardanelle Day One Leader Kevin VanDam – photo by Seigo Saito – Bassmaster

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — Bass-fishing superstar Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., is in an early position to win a record-breaking 24th Bassmaster title. After weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces, the four-time Classic champion is leading the GoPro Bassmaster Elite at Dardanelle presented by Econo Lodge.

With $100,000 and valuable Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points on the line, VanDam fully understands what’s at stake. But even the seasoned veteran was surprised at today’s results.

“I’ve had mixed results on Dardanelle. I got second to Mark Menendez in 2009, and had a terrible tournament in 2014,” VanDam said. “But I know the bass in this lake move around a lot, which makes staying consistent difficult sometimes. I’m actually very pleasantly surprised with my weight today, and the rest of the field did better than I had expected.”

The seven-time Angler of the Year caught his limit early, but made a substantial upgrade later in the day that nicely augmented his five-bass limit.

“I caught two big fish that really helped,” he said. “I learned some things today, but on Dardanelle you can’t always bet on a pattern holding — you have to stay flexible. I don’t believe the forecasted storms will have much impact on how and where I’m fishing, but duplicating today’s weight would surprise me again.”

There has been plenty of discussion about the high, muddy water, but VanDam said the bass are still eager to bite, and replicating a pattern on similar structure across the lake is key to his approach.

“I feel like I know what I need to look for under these conditions,” he said. “After I had a limit, I spent a lot of time running around and practicing for the coming days.”

Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., anchored his second-place, 18-12 limit of largemouth bass with a 6-pounder that was key to his first round success.

“This lake can be stingy, but catching that big one today really helped set me up for a strong start,” DeFoe said.

Like most anglers during the first day, the 31-year-old DeFoe was tight-lipped about how and where he was fishing, but he is known for fishing an area thoroughly instead of moving around a lot.

“Over the years I’ve learned that after several times through an area, the biggest fish will often come from a spot I’ve already fished,” he said. “Never leave biting fish.”

Tim Horton of Muscle Shoals, Ala., won the second Elite event of the 2017 season at Florida’s famed Lake Okeechobee, and he’ll be starting Saturday’s second day of competition in third place after weighing 18-7.

“I feel pretty good about what I’m doing,” Horton said. “The weather forecast is calling for rain over the next couple of days, and I think it could help me. My better bites happened this morning when it was cloudy, and I hope I can keep that pattern going.

David Mullins of Mt. Carmel, Tenn., caught a 6-pound, 8-ounce largemouth that is currently leading the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award.

Saturday’s second round of competition will resume with takeoff at 6:15 a.m. CT at Lake Dardanelle State Park. Weigh-in will occur in the same location at 3:15 p.m.

The Bassmaster Elite Series Outdoors Expo will also take place at Lake Dardanelle State Park on Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon. The expo will feature boat and motor demo rides by Skeeter, Yamaha, Nitro, Triton and Mercury. Toyota will be onsite with interactive displays such as designing your own lure and a NASCAR video game vs. your friend. Other companies including GoPro, Econo Lodge, Huk, Berkley and Power-Pole will also be onsite featuring their latest products. All venues and activities are free and open to the public.

The event is hosted by the Russellville Advertising and Promotion Commission.

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Nitro Boats, Mercury, Minn Kota, Power-Pole, Shell Rotella, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, T-H Marine, Shimano, Advance Auto Parts, Livingston Lures, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Carhartt

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

2017 GoPro Bassmaster Elite at Lake Dardanelle presented by Econo Lodge 6/2-6/5
Lake Dardanelle, Russellville  AR.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  19-03  110
Day 1: 5   19-03
2.  Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  18-12  109
Day 1: 5   18-12
3.  Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  18-07  108
Day 1: 5   18-07
4.  Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           5  17-07  107
Day 1: 5   17-07
5.  Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              5  17-05  106
Day 1: 5   17-05
6.  David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  17-02  105
Day 1: 5   17-02
7.  Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  16-12  104
Day 1: 5   16-12
7.  Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  16-12  104
Day 1: 5   16-12
9.  Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  16-10  102
Day 1: 5   16-10
10. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  16-09  101
Day 1: 5   16-09
11. Gerald Swindle         Guntersville, AL         5  16-07  100
Day 1: 5   16-07
12. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               5  16-06   99
Day 1: 5   16-06
13. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  16-04   98
Day 1: 5   16-04
14. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  16-03   97
Day 1: 5   16-03
15. Randy Howell           Guntersville, AL         5  16-02   96
Day 1: 5   16-02
16. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  16-01   95
Day 1: 5   16-01
17. Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX                5  16-00   94
Day 1: 5   16-00
18. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  15-14   93
Day 1: 5   15-14
19. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  15-08   92
Day 1: 5   15-08
20. Fred Roumbanis         London, AR               5  15-07   91
Day 1: 5   15-07
21. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  15-02   90
Day 1: 5   15-02
22. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  14-14   89
Day 1: 5   14-14
23. Josh Bertrand          San Tan Valley, AZ       5  14-10   88
Day 1: 5   14-10
24. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  14-06   87
Day 1: 5   14-06
25. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  14-05   86
Day 1: 5   14-05
25. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  14-05   86
Day 1: 5   14-05
27. Brandon Palaniuk       Hayden, ID               5  13-14   84
Day 1: 5   13-14
28. Gary Klein             Mingus, TX               5  13-13   83
Day 1: 5   13-13
29. Jacob Wheeler          Indianapolis, IN         5  13-11   82
Day 1: 5   13-11
30. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  13-10   81
Day 1: 5   13-10
31. Matt Lee               Guntersville, AL         5  13-09   80
Day 1: 5   13-09
31. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  13-09   80
Day 1: 5   13-09
33. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       5  13-05   78
Day 1: 5   13-05
34. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  13-02   77
Day 1: 5   13-02
35. Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           5  13-01   76
Day 1: 5   13-01
36. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  12-15   75
Day 1: 5   12-15
37. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              5  12-13   74
Day 1: 5   12-13
38. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  12-11   73
Day 1: 5   12-11
39. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  12-11   72
Day 1: 5   12-11
40. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  12-10   71
Day 1: 5   12-10
41. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  12-05   70
Day 1: 5   12-05
41. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  12-05   70
Day 1: 5   12-05
43. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  12-01   68
Day 1: 5   12-01
43. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  12-01   68
Day 1: 5   12-01
45. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            5  12-00   66
Day 1: 5   12-00
45. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  12-00   66
Day 1: 5   12-00
47. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  11-15   64
Day 1: 5   11-15
48. Jordan Lee             Grant, AL                5  11-13   63
Day 1: 5   11-13
48. Dave Lefebre           Erie, PA                 5  11-13   63
Day 1: 5   11-13
50. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  11-12   61
Day 1: 5   11-12
50. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  11-12   61
Day 1: 5   11-12
52. Koby Kreiger           Bokeelia, FL             5  11-10   59
Day 1: 5   11-10
52. David Williams         Newton, NC               5  11-10   59
Day 1: 5   11-10
54. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  11-09   57
Day 1: 5   11-09
55. John Murray            Spring City, TN          5  11-08   56
Day 1: 5   11-08
55. Jesse Wiggins          Cullman, AL              5  11-08   56
Day 1: 5   11-08
57. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  11-07   54
Day 1: 5   11-07
57. Gerald Spohrer         Gonzales, LA             5  11-07   54
Day 1: 5   11-07
59. Adrian Avena           Vineland, NJ             5  11-01   52
Day 1: 5   11-01
59. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN            5  11-01   52
Day 1: 5   11-01
61. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  10-14   50
Day 1: 5   10-14
62. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  10-13   49
Day 1: 5   10-13
63. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  10-11   48
Day 1: 5   10-11
64. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  10-07   47
Day 1: 5   10-07
65. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  10-06   46
Day 1: 5   10-06
66. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  10-05   45
Day 1: 5   10-05
66. Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         5  10-05   45
Day 1: 5   10-05
68. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  10-04   43
Day 1: 5   10-04
68. Jacob Powroznik        North Prince George, VA  5  10-04   43
Day 1: 5   10-04
70. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            4  10-04   41
Day 1: 4   10-04
71. Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             5  10-01   40
Day 1: 5   10-01
72. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          4  10-00   39
Day 1: 4   10-00
73. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  09-15   38
Day 1: 5   09-15
74. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  09-14   37
Day 1: 5   09-14
75. Robbie Latuso          Gonzales, LA             4  09-11   36
Day 1: 4   09-11
76. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  09-10   35
Day 1: 5   09-10
77. Chad Grigsby           Maple Grove, MN          4  09-10   34
Day 1: 4   09-10
78. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            5  09-08   33
Day 1: 5   09-08
79. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  09-07   32
Day 1: 5   09-07
80. Mark Daniels Jr.       Tuskegee, AL             5  09-01   31
Day 1: 5   09-01
81. Chris Zaldain          Laughlin, NV             5  08-15   30
Day 1: 5   08-15
82. Alton Jones Jr.        Lorena, TX               5  08-11   29
Day 1: 5   08-11
83. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  08-09   28
Day 1: 5   08-09
84. Jesse Tacoronte        Orlando, FL              4  08-08   27
Day 1: 4   08-08
85. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          4  08-05   26
Day 1: 4   08-05
86. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            4  08-04   25
Day 1: 4   08-04
87. Darrell Ocamica        New Plymouth, ID         4  08-03   24
Day 1: 4   08-03
88. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          4  08-02   23
Day 1: 4   08-02
89. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              4  07-09   22
Day 1: 4   07-09
90. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         4  07-04   21
Day 1: 4   07-04
91. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           4  07-01   20
Day 1: 4   07-01
92. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         4  06-14   19
Day 1: 4   06-14
93. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          3  06-14   18
Day 1: 3   06-14
94. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  06-09   17
Day 1: 5   06-09
95. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                4  06-02   16
Day 1: 4   06-02
96. Dustin Connell         Clanton, AL              3  06-02   15
Day 1: 3   06-02
97. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               4  05-13   14
Day 1: 4   05-13
98. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               3  05-10   13
Day 1: 3   05-10
99. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                3  05-08   12
Day 1: 3   05-08
100. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         1  05-00   11
Day 1: 1   05-00
101. John Hunter Jr         Shelbyville, KY          3  04-13   10
Day 1: 3   04-13
102. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              2  04-07    9
Day 1: 2   04-07
103. Brent Ehrler           Newport Beach, CA        2  04-02    8
Day 1: 2   04-02
104. Luke Clausen           Otis Orchards, WA        2  04-00    7
Day 1: 2   04-00
105. Seth Feider            Isle, MN                 2  03-05    6
Day 1: 2   03-05
106. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            2  03-01    5
Day 1: 2   03-01
107. Brandon Card           Knoxville, TN            1  01-12    4
Day 1: 1   01-12
108. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
108. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        80       487      1213-10
———————————-
80       487      1213-10